Standardizing clinical care measures of rheumatic heart disease in pregnancy: A qualitative synthesis

Geraldine Vaughan, Angela Dawson, Michael J. Peek, Jonathan R. Carapetis, Elizabeth A. Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Rheumatic heart disease (RHD) is a preventable cardiac condition that escalates risk in pregnancy. Models of care informed by evidence-based clinical guidelines are essential to optimal health outcomes. There are no published reviews that systematically explore approaches to care provision for pregnant women with RHD and examine reported measures. The review objective was to improve understanding of how attributes of care for these women are reported and how they align with guidelines. Methods: A search of 13 databases was supported by hand-searching. Papers that met inclusion criteria were appraised using CASP/JBI checklists. A content analysis of extracted data from the findings sections of included papers was undertaken, informed by attributes of quality care identified previously from existing guidelines. Results: The 43 included studies were predominantly conducted in tertiary care centers of low-income and middle-income countries. Cardiac guidelines were referred to in 25 of 43 studies. Poorer outcomes were associated with higher risk scores (detailed in 36 of 41 quantitative studies). Indicators associated with increased risk include anticoagulation during pregnancy (28 of 41 reported) and late booking (gestation documented in 15 of 41 studies). Limited access to cardiac interventions was discussed (19 of 43) in the context of poorer outcomes. Conversely, early assessment and access to regular multidisciplinary care were emphasized in promoting optimal outcomes for women and their babies. Conclusions: Despite often complex care requirements in challenging environments, pregnancy provides an opportunity to strengthen health system responses and address whole-of-life health for women with RHD. A standard set of core indicators is proposed to more accurately benchmark care pathways, outcomes, and burden.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)560-573
Number of pages14
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


Dive into the research topics of 'Standardizing clinical care measures of rheumatic heart disease in pregnancy: A qualitative synthesis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this